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Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Brief History of Congo, Democratic Republic of the:
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a different country from the Republic of the Congo. They are located next to each other and have similar names, but they are different countries.
There were probably people living in the area that is today known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo as far back as 8000 BC. They were herders and farmers and tribal peoples. In the 600's AD the Bantu people came to the area and settled.
The first Europeans to come to the land were the Portuguese. Explorer Diego Cao arrived in 1482. Many years later, in the late 1800's, British journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley would travel through much of the area. In 1885 the area became a colony of Belgian King Leopold II and would become a Belgian possession in 1907. In the 1960s the Belgian Congo gained full independence. The first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was Patrice Lumumba and the first president was Joseph Kasvubu.
The Geography of Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Total Size: 2,345,410 square km
Size Comparison: slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
Geographical Coordinates: 0 00 N, 25 00 E
World Region or Continent: Africa
General Terrain: vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east
Geographical Low Point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Geographical High Point: Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley) 5,110 m
Climate: tropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands; north of Equator - wet season (April to October), dry season (December to February); south of Equator - wet season (November to March), dry season (April to October)
Major cities: KINSHASA (capital) 8.401 million; Lubumbashi 1.543 million; Mbuji-Mayi 1.488 million; Kananga 878,000; Kisangani 812,000 (2009)
The People of Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Type of Government: transitional government
Languages Spoken: French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Independence: 30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 30 June (1960)
Nationality: Congolese (singular and plural)
Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs 10%
National Symbol: leopard
National Anthem or Song: Debout Congolaise (Arise Congolese)
Economy of Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Major Industries: mining (diamonds, copper, zinc), mineral processing, consumer products (including textiles, footwear, cigarettes, processed foods and beverages), cement, commercial ship repair
Agricultural Products: coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, quinine, cassava (tapioca), palm oil, bananas, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products
Natural Resources: cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber
Major Exports: diamonds, copper, crude oil, coffee, cobalt
Major Imports: foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels
Currency: Congolese franc (CDF)
National GDP: $25,290,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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